Go-ahead for new car park

PUBLISHED: 13:32 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 13:51 04 May 2010

ELY traders are celebrating victory after the news that a new 180-space commuter car park on the outskirts of the city is due to open in the autumn. They had campaigned for months for the car park on the Cambridgeshire Business Park to free up city centre

ELY traders are celebrating victory after the news that a new 180-space commuter car park on the outskirts of the city is due to open in the autumn.

They had campaigned for months for the car park on the Cambridgeshire Business Park to free up city centre spaces for shoppers.

East Cambridgeshire District Council invested £635,000 in half a hectare of land for the new car park, using Section 106 cash handed over by Tesco when it expanded its Angel Drove store

The project, which will begin this summer, is expected to cost £2 million and could lead to the development of a new park-and-ride service.

Ely Traders' Association chairman, Elaine Griffin-Singh, who runs Griffin Antiques on Ely's Forehill, said: "This is our car park. It's the one we had been fighting for. Common sense has finally prevailed.

"This is the first step. Now the council needs to change the timings on the city centre car parks to encourage 180 commuters to use the new car park."

The plan, put forward by Conservative councillors last autumn, caused concern among Liberal Democrats who had hoped the go-ahead would be given to a multi-storey car park near the station.

Ely councillor Sheila Friend-Smith voiced her fears at the time and is still worried about safety aspects around the new car park.

She said: "This is not the situation we had hoped. It was sadly not the ideal option but it was the only option in the end and we have got to make it work.

"I am concerned about the safety of commuters walking from the car park to the station. We have got to make the walk as easy and as safe as possible. It is a big investment and I hope it will work and be safe."

Council chief executive John Hill said: "This is a major step forward in the development of the Ely Transport Strategy. The new car park, once completed, will offer commuters a safe and secure place to leave the car while they travel to their place of work.

"Once in place the new car park will significantly relieve the pressure on parking throughout the city and provide new options for those who wish to visit Ely.

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